The mistaken listing of a former Logan man as one of Nevada’s “10 Most Wanted” fugitives was the result of identity theft, a Nevada police official said Thursday.
The story of Jay Patrick’s erroneous listing as a wanted criminal and subsequent incarceration at the Cache County Jail made statewide news in Utah this week, including front-page articles in The Herald Journal and The Salt Lake Tribune.
Patrick, a former Herald Journal reporter now living in Boise, was arrested as a Nevada drug-trafficking suspect when he returned to Logan on March 30 to pay a fine for fishing without a license. After three days in jail, he was able to secure his release by proving he was at work in Logan on days when a drug informant purchased large quantities of methamphetamine from a dealer in Mesquite, Nev., going under the name Jason Patrick.
The Herald Journal on Wednesday was unable to contact anyone with the Investigation Division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the agency responsible for Patrick’s listing as a wanted man. Thursday, an undercover officer with the division called to explain what happened.
“Our informant identified the seller through viewing parcel evidence (pieces of mail) in the home,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified. “After the wrong man was arrested, we learned from the real suspect’s girlfriend that he had stolen the identity of a person named Jason Patrick.”
The officer said a personal profile of Patrick, including a mug shot and date of birth, was assembled by investigators through electronic records searches after the informant provided a name and other information. The photo was taken from an old driver’s license of Patrick’s when he worked in Washington state.
Patrick’s profile was posted on the Nevada agency’s “10 Most Wanted” list on the Internet and also posted on the nationwide law enforcement database administered by the National Crime Information Center.
The officer said the real suspect in the drug deals has yet to be arrested.
“This was no fault of law enforcement,” he said. “It’s a case of someone using false identification.” He added he wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick now has bad credit as a result of someone using his identity.